November 11
5:00 to 8:00 PM
Georgian Embassy
1824 R St NW | Washington DC 20009 | USA

Join ღVino Forum speakers and attendees at a unique gathering at the Embassy of Georgia to toast a variety of Saperavi wines and meet some of Georgia’s top winemakers.

Saperavi (sah-per-ah-vee) is deep in fruit character, yet brisk with acidity, this gutsy grape is gaining worldwide attention as the leading red Georgian indigenous variety.

Translated literally as “for giving color”, Saperavi reflects a deep, inky and often fully opaque color. It is one of the few teinturier—red skin and red flesh—grape varieties in the world. This varietal has aromas and flavors of dark berries, licorice, grilled meat, tobacco, chocolate and spices.


Monday, November 12
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Trade and Media Tasting
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm Consumer Tasting
1205 11th Street NW | Washington | DC 20001

The America Georgia Business Council and the National Wine Agency invites licensed trade and media to a walk around tasting and lunch at Supra Restaurant in Washington DC on Monday, November 11 from 12:00 – 1:30pm. Consumer tasting will take place from 1:30 – 3:00pm.

After eight centuries of winemaking, the country of Georgia is continuing to keep their tradition alive through the ongoing use of ancient traditions as well as modern winemaking methods. With over 100,000 family wineries and over 400 commercial wineries, Georgia is a rich and diverse winemaking region.

For licensed trade and media, we will host a “Georgian Wine Competition” – a blind tasting of Georgian varietals with various vinification methods (in qvevri, in stainless steel and on oak). Trade and media participants will compete to win a trip to Georgia in 2019.


Tuesday, November 13
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Headquarters
1616 Rhode Island Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Tuesday, November 13

Wine, Society, and Geopolitics: How History, Political Economy, and Wine Intersect in the Caucasus and Beyond

Please join us for a unique, multi-panel event exploring the history, geopolitics, and political economy of wine production in the South Caucasus region. As a primary driver of Georgia’s burgeoning tourism industry (representing 18% of Georgia’s GDP in 2017) wine has been crucial to the internal development of Georgia’s trade, finance, and legal infrastructure. Panels will explore the following themes: how wine production has evolved historically in Georgia and the Caucasus and transformed Georgia’s economy, offering lessons for the region as a whole; the geopolitical consequences of a new wave of trade liberalization and foreign investment for the Caucasus; and the dynamics of local and global economies of wine, their politics and prospects.

A wine tasting following the conference will feature a sampling from some of Georgia’s top producers, reflecting the unique position of Georgia in the global wine marketplace.

9:00 – 9:30 AM

Olga Oliker, Director, Russia and Eurasia Program, CSIS
Mamuka Tsereteli, President, America-Georgia Business Council
Giorgi Tsikolia, Chargè D’Affaires, Embassy of Georgia
9:30 – 11:30 AM

Nodar Kereselidze, First Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture
Patrick McGovern, University of Pennsylvania
Stephen Batiuk, University of Toronto
Rachel Berndtson, University of Maryland
Moderated by Mark J. Plotkin, Amazon Conservation Team-USA
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Lunch will be served on the Concourse Level
12:30 – 2:00 PM

Kym Anderson, University of Adelaide
Lisa Granik, Master of Wine
Darra Goldstein, Author, The Georgian Feast
Levan Mekhuzla, Chairman, National Wine Agency of Georgia
Shota Kobelia, CEO, Teliani Group
Moderated by Jeffrey Mankoff, CSIS
2:00 PM – 2:30 PM COFFEE BREAK
2:30 – 4:00 PM

Rose Previte, Founder, Compass Rose and Maydan
Baia Abuladze, Baia’s Wines
Daniel Runnerstrom, Founder/Sommelier, Maxwell Park Wine Bar
Carlie Steiner, Sommelier, Himitsu
Jonathan Nelms, Founder, Supra DC
Noel Brockett, Director,
Moderated by Dave McIntyre, The Washington Post.
4:00 – 5:30 PM

Please join us for hors-d’oevres and beverages on the 2nd floor.
2018 Ghvino Event Photos
The Origin of Wine:
In November 2017, the National Academy of Sciences released a report, Early Neolithic Wine of Georgia in the South Caucasus. Authored by Patrick McGovern and other prominent scientists, this report documents the research project conducted by an international team of scientists which confirmed the beginnings of viticulture and winemaking can be traced to around 6000 B.C., in Georgia.

Image courtesy of: Early Neolithic Wine of Georgia in the South Caucasus

Previous evidence suggested that the earliest signs of winemaking dated to around 5400 – 5000 B.C. in Iran, but this latest project re-examined sites in Georgia at Shulaveris Gora and Gadachrili Gora, 50km south of Tbilisi, using new techniques, and found wine residues from the interiors of eight large jars from the early Neolithic sites. The project was undertaken by scientists from the US, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Israel and Georgia and fully funded by the Government of Georgia.

Using the most up-to-date technology, the team was able to establish the fingerprint compound for grape and wine (tartaric acid) and three associated organic acids (malic, succinic and citric), demonstrating that the Eurasian grapevine (Vitis vinifera) was present in what is now Georgia, in early Neolithic times, and growing in ideal conditions. The team also found that the quantity of wine the jars could hold – upwards of 300 liters each – suggests that the grapevine had been domesticated and was being cloned and transported using horticultural techniques.


These results not only set the dates for the earliest production of wine, but perhaps most significantly, just how important wine was in the social setting of the earliest periods of human sedentary village life and that it has remained much so to this day.

Early Neolithic Wine of Georgia in the South Caucasus is published online at Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences at the United States of America (PNAS).


The earliest biomolecular archaeological and archaeobotanical evidence for grape wine and viniculture from the Near East, ca. 6,000–5,800 BC during the early Neolithic Period, was obtained by applying state-of-the-art archaeological, archaeobotanical, climatic, and chemical methods to newly excavated materials from two sites in Georgia in the South Caucasus. Wine is central to civilization as we know it in the West. As a medicine, social lubricant, mind-altering substance, and highly valued commodity, wine became the focus of religious cults, pharmacopeias, cuisines, economies, and society in the ancient Near East. This wine culture subsequently spread around the globe. Viniculture illustrates human ingenuity in developing horticultural and winemaking techniques, such as domestication, propagation, selection of desirable traits, wine presses, suitable containers and closures, and so on.


Authors: Patrick McGovern, Mindia Jalabadze, Stephen Batiuk, Michael P. Callahan, Karen E. Smith, Gretchen R. Hall, Eliso Kvavadze, David Maghradze, Nana Rusishvili, Laurent Bouby, Osvaldo Failla, Gabriele Cola, Luigi Mariani, Elisabetta Boaretto, Roberto Bacilieri, Patrice This, Nathan Wales, David Lordkipanidze. Universities of Montpellier, Pennsylvania, Copenhagen, Milan, Toronto, INRA Montpellier, EHESS, CERCEC, Scientific Research Centre of Agriculture of Georgia, Georgian National Museum.



This Ghvino Forum is the first in a series of events to be held in the United States.

This event was created to further advance the understanding of the origin of wine, the historical geopolitical and economic influence of wine for Georgia and in the region and the current role of the Georgian wine sector on the worldwide stage.

This event was also inspired by the worldwide interest in by the release of the 2017 archeological report along with the simultaneous selection as the first exhibit selected by the “Cité des Civilisations Du Vin”, the museum for wine civilization in Bordeaux, France. The exhibit, “The Cradle of Wine” lasting from July through September 2017, included the placement of a Georgian Qvevri at the entrance of the center for the permanent exposition. This placement was to honor the 2013 selection of Georgian traditional method of Qvevri wine-making on the list of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”.

Event Sponsors include:

1.America–Georgia Business Council (AGBC)
Established in 1998, the America–Georgia Business Council (AGBC) is a private, non-profit corporation governed by a Board of Directors. The AGBC promotes trade and investment between North America and Georgia by helping companies focus and accelerate decision-making to forge successful, bilateral business partnerships.

The AGBC relies on a deep understanding of the Georgian political and business landscape, direct access to high-level government officials and agencies, and diverse business contacts to deliver value and maximize opportunities for our members.

2.The National Wine Agency
is an agency of the Georgian Department of Agriculture with the primary directive to promote development of viticulture and winemaking in Georgia.


3.Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
Established in Washington, D.C., over 50 years ago, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a bipartisan, nonprofit policy research organization dedicated to providing strategic insights and policy solutions to help decision makers chart a course toward a better world.

4.The Embassy of Georgia to the United States of America